Tom Foreman’s new book, My Year of Running Dangerously, has been getting a lot of positive attention since its release last week. I was thrilled to get to preview his book (see my book review). Once I read the book and felt like I already knew Tom, I was even more excited to get the opportunity to ask him a few questions about topics ranging from his most recent running adventures, to the public figure he’d most like to go for a run with (the answer surprised me!).
Don’t forget that if you’re in Atlanta this Saturday, you can meet Tom at the Georgia Tech Barnes & Noble! The event begins at 10:30 am – see the event page for more details.
Sarah: Let’s start by picking up where your book left off. Where has running taken you since the Stone Mill 50?
Tom: Since the first Stone Mill in late 2011, I have run numerous half marathons, several more full marathons, (most recently completing the Chicago Marathon yesterday, October 11, 2015 – my lifetime marathon count is now at 12) and I have completed two more ultra marathons, each over 50 miles.
Sarah: My job isn’t nearly as visible or exciting as yours, but it does require me to travel and keep some unpredictable hours. A moment in the book that I particularly related to was when you wrote about your long run in the dark near Las Vegas. What advice can you give to those who want to train around their busy lives or travel schedules?
Tom: Making priorities is not a catch phrase. It requires serious thinking and planning about what matters to you. You have to look at the clock honestly, imagine all the blocks of time you have committed in your day, and figure out when you can make running work. That may mean running early or late. It may mean grabbing a quick bite and running while the rest of your co-workers enjoy lunch or dinner. That said, I think we have to work just as hard at our jobs and relationships as we do at running so that those who rely on us don’t grow jealous of our road time and turn something positive into a negative.
Sarah: Do you follow a structured training schedule these days, or do you go out and run for fun and fitness? Which do you prefer and why?
Tom: I do both. When I am training for a specific race I find that a set training schedule is freeing. It allows me to focus on the quality of the runs rather than worrying about whether my plan is solid. However, when I don’t have a particular goal I like making it up day by day – some road time, some trail time -heedless of my watch or distances. A good mix between disciplined and casual running seems the best way for me to avoid staleness and excessive fatigue.
Sarah: What has been the most noticeable change you’ve seen in yourself since returning to running in your 50s, whether physical, mental or emotional?
Tom: Physically the most notable changes are lower weight, better sleep, a slower pulse, and far less concern about things like blood pressure. I need more recovery time after a hard run as I get older, but that is a small, pleasant price. Mentally running has made me more alert, productive and optimistic. In a word, I’m happier.
Sarah: I understand you’ve pounded some pavement in Atlanta. What’s your favorite neighborhood or route to run?
Tom: I enjoy starting at Georgia Tech near Bobby Dodd Stadium and heading east on North Avenue. I follow it up and down the hills, past the Masquerade, through the neighborhoods, past Freedom Park, and around the south end of Candler Park. Then I turn north on Clifton Road to catch Ponce De Leon west through Druid Hills, until I cut north to Piedmont Park for a quick loop before coming down Peachtree and across the Interstate on 10th to wrap up a nice ten miles back on GT’s campus. Oh, and I may stop for a doughnut at Krispy Kreme along the way.
Sarah: What public figure or celebrity would you most like to go for a run with? Why?
Tom: Prince. I think he runs. Anyway, he is a hugely talented and interesting guy, and you have such great conversations while running I think that would be a blast.
Many thanks to Tom for the interview! I really enjoyed getting to know him a little better after reading his book, and I’m looking forward to meeting him in person on Saturday. I hope to see many of you there.